Months after the previous tournament, Raven Republic members were itching for an excuse to gather and compete again. So, on the 7th of June 2008, the Raven Republic held its fourth PACT tournament, again graciously hosted by Sforza.
The rules this time were still based on PACT 3 but modified to be less restrictive.
Two (2) ACs with no repeating parts (except for optional parts) shall be allowed per person. The AC can use the same leg type, but not the same exact part (i.e. you can use tank legs for both of your units, but not the exact same tank leg part model) per AC, including internals and weapons.
A participant shall use one (1) AC against the opponent’s other AC. The second round will force players to swap their ACs with the one in reserve. The 3rd round shall allow both participants to choose which ever AC they wish to use.
The scoring system using the AP score format will be retained. This format computes the total amount of AP left for the three (3) bouts for each pair of participants. The participant with the higher total sum AP after the three (3) rounds shall be declared the winner.
By now, the process was familiar for everyone, from organizing in the forums, to transportation and logistics, and borrowing TVs and PlayStation 2s.
The brackets may have been lost to time, but Ethermaster and Moonlight_Raven were the ones to make it to the finals. Moonlight_Raven was Ethermaster’s Armored Core mentor prior to finding the Raven Republic. But now, there was a championship at stake. And in the end, Ethermaster came out with the win to become the new PACT champion.
PACT 4 Results (Wins/Losses/Matches/Win %):
Ethermaster 5/0/5 100%
Moonlight_Raven 4/2/6 67%
atdsutm 3/2/5 60%
Sforza 3/2/5 60%
Archangel (Mjting) 2/2/4 50%
Grim 2/1/3 67%
AEA1 1/2/3 33%
Mikeberserkr 1/2/3 33%
Fox 1/2/3 33%
Azuriel 0/2/2 0%
Grimweld 0/2/2 0%
Serene 0/2/2 0%
Championship match (Volume Warning):
And finally, as was tradition, we all went out for dinner afterwards:
PACT 5 – Grab a Friend, TOTAL (Two-On-Two-Action-League) Fun
In another experimental attempt to shake things up for an aged Armored Core title, it was decided that PACT 5 would be a two-on-two tournament.
On tournament day, August 1, 2009, the random selection of partners began at 1:00 PM, with the restriction that previous PACT placers would be seeded into the brackets, and they could not be paired with each other.
After the team-ups were determined, participants were given an hour to strategize and coordinate their ACs with their partners. During this time, each pair was allocated a maximum of 15 minutes on a PS2 to adjust their ACs. The pair then declared their ACs for use, and a marshal ensured PACT compliance using standard rules.
The other rules were the usual ones – banned maps as before, a random map selection for each round, a best-of-3 format for regular matches, and best-of-5 for the finals, with a 5-minute time limit.
Leperman and Beaskiller
Nix and Goat
Maitreya and Ardjin
TwinSkies and Azuriel
Atdsutm and Arch_Angel
Clonezero and Serene
Grimweld and AEA1
Once all ACs were declared, the tournament began at 2:30 PM, putting part knowledge and team coordination to the test.
PACT 5 brought a refreshing change to the congested Last Raven scene, introducing an entirely different metagame with the 2-on-2 format. Kudos to NiX and Goat for their victory and their excellent attack combo. They proved that firepower and defense weren’t the only paths to success in a 2-on-2 match.
A salute to the Ting brothers, who performed splendidly and even managed to take down a formidable opponent. Jokes aside, their teamwork was commendable.
Ardjin deserved credit for being an outstanding partner, showcasing impressive skills and the famed Jetstream attack.
Considering the stats, it seems the Tings deserved second place, as Jin and I lucked out with byes. A lighthearted observation, of course.
The results were as follows:
NiX + Goat (11-1)
Maitreya + Ardjin (5-6)
Andrew + Mark (9-6)
AEA1 + Grimweld (3-4)
Leperman + Beastkiller (1-4)
Twin-Skies + Azuriel (0-4)
Clone + Nerese (0-4)
Fortunately, PACT 5 was the first tournament to have actual match footage.
PACT 5 Match Video Playlist:
The two-on-two format highlighted the importance of synergy and teamwork rather than just individual skill. This showed in NiX and Goat’s focus-firing tactics that won them the championship.
PACT 5 worked to keep the competition alive a bit longer while being more laid back than previous tournaments. But after so many years of playing Last Raven, interest in it had naturally started waning.
Talk about another tournament was quickly floated right after PACT 5 without gaining much traction. But two and a half years later, with the impending release of the English version of Armored Core V, there was finally enough push for a last goodbye to competitive Last Raven.
Going back to basics, a classic 1-on-1 tournament was decided. The rules were mostly the same as PACT 1, but in a double-elimination format.
Unlike previous tournaments, this one was actually held in a public venue. And on February 11, 2012, the tournament commenced.
PACT VI Match Video Playlist:
Fifteen players registered for the tournament. Knowing that this might be the last one, some players were highly motivated to compete. Mjting, a relatively newer member at the time, was particularly fired up. He had practiced heavily during the time leading up to the tournament, and he took every opportunity to consult and play with previous PACT podium placers.
His efforts paid off. In the third round, he sent tournament-favorite Lord Leperman to the losers’ bracket. But he was sent to the losers bracket himself by NiX in the round after, where he had to claw his way through to face an equally determined Fox.
Coming out of the winners’ bracket with a twice-to-beat advantage was NiX. And with a hard-fought place out of the losers’ bracket was Mjting. In what seemed to be a recurring theme since PACT 3, teacher against protege faced off in the finals, yet again.
Learning and adapting from their earlier fourth-round encounter, Mjting and his RL midweight took the first two rounds in convincing fashion. But NiX, in his GL quad, made his own adjustments to take back momentum. NiX won the next three close rounds to finally take his first 1-on-1 tournament title.
With the conclusion of PACT VI, the members of Raven Republic didn’t say it out loud, but they understood that it was a farewell to Last Raven. And what a farewell it was.
In the days to follow, Raven Republic eagerly awaited Armored Core V, where there would be more adventures (and notoriety) to come. Stay tuned for our recounting of that!
Welcome back to Raven Republic’s ongoing series about Armored Core’s competitive history. In this edition, the focus is on Raven Republic itself and its own Philippine Armored Core Tournament (PACT) series. But first, a little historical context:
Armored Core in the Philippines
The Armored Core games for the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 were quite easy to find in the Philippines (because of unofficial distribution that we don’t need to talk about here). Because of this, most gamers at the time would have at least heard of Armored Core. But the game was still obscure enough that only a handful of people in any given area took the game seriously, if there were any at all. Internet penetration was low, and transportation infrastructure was (and still is) limited, so finding and meeting like-minded Armored Core players was difficult.
During Armored Core 3 was when the internet was becoming more readily accessible in the Philippines. So, it was around this time when some Filipino Ravens thought to look online for others like them. But since most English-language forums and message boards for Armored Core were based in the USA, these Filipinos joined but only blended in, not knowing that they had compatriots among them. It took until 2006, around the time of Armored Core: Last Raven, for a few Filipino members of the prominent Armored Core Online forums to find each other, and for one of them to decide to create his own site for Armored Core fans, particularly those in the Philippines.
On August 13, 2006, Grim finally launched Raven Republic with the goal of serving as a hub for Filipino Ravens. V1 of the message boards was found on one of those free create-a-forum sites (InvisionFree), complete with a free domain name hosted on cjb.net. Slowly but surely, the target audience found their way to the site by searching for “Armored Core Philippines” or by word of mouth from their own contacts and small AC playgroups. Activity in the budding community kept growing, and eventually, Grim floated the idea of meeting up in person.
The First Congregation
A shitposter in the Armored Core: Last Raven board of GameFAQs turned out to be from Manila. An RR member who also posted there was incited enough to challenge this troll in person, with other RR members in tow. From there, RR’s first official meet was organized.
On September 9, 2006, in Neo One LAN Shop at Marikina Riverbanks Mall, five RR members, many hailing from other online AC communities, gathered in person for the first time to challenge JV from GameFAQs. The RR members that came were Grim (Armored Core Online), Lord_Leperman (Raven’s Haven), NiX (Armored Core Garage), AEA1 (GameFAQs), and Cabs. Few as they were, that was already more Ravens in one place than any of them had been around.
This meeting was significant, not only because it was the first, but because it was there, over pizza after the games, that the idea of organizing a local Armored Core tournament was first discussed. And over the succeeding weeks, more and more Ravens found their way to the community.
Doom Trigger (DT), who had previously hosted a few small fighting game tournaments, generously offered his home as the venue.
The basic format was adapted from Master of California, while the list of AC parts to ban were refined from existing lists from Western forums. AC designs were to be submitted beforehand to a non-participant to check for regulation compliance. Specific rules were as follows:
Game: Armored Core: Last Raven
Single elimination. Random pairings on tournament day.
One AC entry per contestant.
Best of three rounds, 5 minutes per round.
Best of five rounds, 5 minutes per round for the finals.
Round loser can choose the next map.
A ring out counts as a loss.
A double KO is a draw. The round will be considered null and will be repeated.
When both ACs are out of ammo and any other means of lowering their opponent’s AP, the AC with the higher AP automatically gets the win, whether time has run out or not.
Conceding rounds is allowed.
UA core with hangers
Lemur2 arms + left arm gun or shield (including hangered left guns)
Loris arms + left arm gun or shield (including hangered left guns)
Pegasus back part
all ECM pods
ROE2 ammo extensions
HP handgun in the hangers
ROC4 pulse rifle in the hangers
Any GameSharked or Action Replayed files (or hacked files of any kind)
On October 28, 2006, participants came from all over the metro and nearby provinces to make the trip to Quezon City. A few had to carpool or rendezvous at designated locations. Eager volunteers had already arrived early to help with preparations. And when everyone had arrived, the tournament finally began.
The event lasted the entire day, with DT even sponsoring the food for both guests and participants. And as the matches continued to be played, four semi-finalists emerged: NiX in a midweight sniper, Twin-Skies in a heavy GL quad, Lord_Leperman in a heavy biped, and Beastkiller in a heavy tank. NiX eliminated Twin-Skies in a close series, and Lord_Leperman eliminated Beastkiller. Finally, it was down to NiX and Lord_Leperman for the championship.
After the dust had settled, Lord_Leperman came out on top and was the champion of the very first PACT.
PACK 2 – PalPACT! You don’t need power to have fun
Before we start, a little Filipino lesson for everyone: palpak (păl′păk″) – a colloquial Filipino word meaning failure, badly done, thwarted effort. Don’t worry, it will make sense after a while.
After a few months, and a Christmas party thrown in between, members couldn’t get enough AC battles and friendship. Almost every holiday since PACT 1 was spent hanging out with RR members for a round of AC, or just to chill. Eventually another rumbling of PACT was being talked about among members.
After a long discussion and plenty of adjustments, PACT II was settled to take place on 19 May 2007, a little more than 6 months from the first tournament, and again at DT’s place.
Around 18 people signed up, and after tons of organizing, carpool planning, and equipment checks, the day finally arrived. Everyone had been practicing hard, hyped for potential runbacks. Plenty of new faces showed up too. Most notably, a crew from the Cavite province south of Manila made plans to attend and participate after hearing about the success of the first tournament.
On the day itself, everything was smooth and on schedule. TVs, chairs, and tables were set up immediately. And finally, the Playstation 2s were plugged in. Then there was a very loud pop, and DT’s house lost power. Something smelled burnt.
All the excitement disappeared. Plugging in the second PS2 not only overloaded the house’s power supply, it also caused a blackout for the whole block.
But it wasn’t a total loss. The participants instead used the time to laugh about the situation and bond over common hobbies aside from Armored Core. There was talk of making a doujin AC manga, or what if AC was set in the Philippines, and other wild tangents. People stayed until after having pizza for dinner, which was a long time considering it wasn’t spent playing video games.
Right after the unfortunate circumstances of the previous event, the group was highly motivated to organize another real tournament. After numerous forum posts and planning, PACT 2.1 was set for June 16, 2007 at NiX’s home.
Though there were fewer attendees than the previous gatherings, this allowed for a more intimate event. DT entrusted his equipment even though he couldn’t attend, and AEA1 was still dying to compete despite coming from a 36-hour shift. New participant Sforza, who was also relatively new to Armored Core, spent the month prior training with the defending PACT champion. A few others who missed the first tournament also joined.
Rules were mostly the same as the previous tournament.
NiX and Lord_Leperman faced off in the finals again. And again, Lord_Leperman took it all the way with his aerial lightweight AC.
And what was the prize for making it back to the mountaintop? A McChicken sandwich.
PACT 3 – Battle Arena Style
For the third PACT, the consensus was to spice things up with a new format. Taking inspiration from FromSoft’s Battle Arena 2004, the rule was to use 3 designs without repeating parts (including internals), and without repeating leg types. The hope was to force creativity in designing, and to shake up the metagame. The discussion for the tournament was largely set in this forum thread.
The tournament was set for October 27, 2007, a day removed from the anniversary of the first tournament. This time, it was held in Sforza’s house, which was to be the site of numerous RR gatherings to come.
Each player must bring 3 unique ACs (up to 5 ACs, depending on whatever is decided upon for a particular tournament). Players who fail to present a complete garage will be DISQUALIFIED.
The ACs in a particular garage MUST be of varying leg types (Humanoid, RJ, Quad, Tank, Hover). Players can only have one AC per leg type (ex. Only one humanoid AC is allowed per garage). A different weight class (light, mid, heavy) does not count as a different leg type (ex. Having a light humanoid and a mid humanoid in the same garage is not allowed).
The ACs in your garage should have NO, as in ZERO, common parts EXCEPT for optional parts.
However, a particular AC may be equipped with a pair of the same weapon (ex. A KARURA for each back slot/ An R3 for each arm, etc.). BUT if one AC in a particular garage has, let’s say, a KARURA on the left back slot, other ACs in that garage can no longer equip a KARURA even for the right back slot. This still applies to hand-mounted and hangered weapons.
Players MUST switch to another AC after every round/match – For the first round of a match, the players may opt to use any AC in their respective garages. ACs that have already been used in a certain round of a particular match may no longer be used in the succeeding rounds of that match.
In the event of a fourth round in a FINALS match, the players may reuse any AC in their respective garages.
In the event of a fifth round in a FINALS match, the players may opt to use any AC that was NOT USED in the fourth round of that match.
Participants included most of the mainstays and a few newcomers. Because of the newly implemented losers’ bracket, this tournament was more drawn out than the previous two. A second meeting on November 10, 2007 had to be held to resolve the remaining matches, forcing some players to forfeit due to logistical reasons.
The results were as follows:
For the finals, it was Lord_Leperman versus Sforza in a duel between master and protege. Yet again, Lord_Leperman took the championship to complete the hat trick, cementing himself as the greatest Armored Core player in the country.
But aside from Armored Core, the group also held a casual Tekken 5 tournament, some retro gaming on the SNES and PlayStation, and other shenanigans.
And now, exactly 17 years later since its founding, Raven Republic looks back fondly on these past events that had become a regular part of the members’ lives.
Editor’s note: There’s still more to this story leading up to present day and Armored Core 6, but as you can see this post has run rather long… so stay tuned for PACT IV and beyond in the next one!
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional anecdotes from a few OGs!
If the world of Armored Core collided with the world of Pro Wrestling, it would give birth to the legendary Master of California series of tournaments. With opera levels of drama, intense rivalries, and a cast of distinct personalities, this competition was a true spectacle of skill and showmanship. Drawing up to 50 participants, Master of California stood as the most prestigious tournament outside of Japan, captivating AC fans across the globe.
There have been a total of five MoC events, starting from Armored Core 2 and ending with Nexus. California has a flourishing fighting game community, so it was only natural that Armored Core’s competitive scene was alive here as well.
The Genesis of Master of California
Before organized grassroots tournaments, smaller AC gatherings organized by “Ravens’ Nest” popped up in various locations, including Japan. The birth of Master of California was sparked by the ingenious minds of three individuals from Southern California’s Ravens Nest in Irvine: The Watcher, Cable, and JinX. Little is known about the inaugural tournament, but its existence left an indelible mark on the competitive Armored Core scene.
August 25, 2001, 11:30AM, California State University, Fresno, University Student Union, Room 309 (funny how Armored Core 6 is going to be released 22 years later).
The first MoC tournament featured fierce battles and passionate duels. The rules for this initial tournament were relatively straightforward:
Platform: Armored Core 2
Double elimination format
Legal cores only; no human PLUS and/or overweight designs allowed
5 minute time limit per match
Coin toss determined the first arena, with the loser picking the next map.
The same rules applied for the Contraband tournament, except allowing Human Plus and Overweight designs.
Oliver Maiquez emerged as the champion, with Dante Mapanao (Cable) securing second place and Alain Maiquez (The Watcher) claiming third. The separate Contraband tournament saw Angelo, Kurt, and Dante winning first, second, and third respectively. The event’s details have become somewhat obscured by time, but its impact on the Armored Core community was undeniable; it lit the competitive spirit of Ravens in the US.
According to sources, the winners were a sweep for the Southern California Ravens, largely due to the dominance of siblings Oliver and Alain who played against each other on a regular basis. Dante, their family friend, surely managed to catch in on those sessions as well.
NorCal vs. SoCal Rivalry
The introduction of the Ravens Nest of Northern California (RNNC) into the Master of California series elevated the tournament’s intensity. The clash of NorCal and SoCal Ravens fueled a fierce rivalry, accompanied by colorful trash talking and heated duels. While NorCal Ravens boasted creative and competent pilots, the SoCal Ravens had their own unique gift for combat, setting the stage for unforgettable confrontations.
Around May 2002, after MoC1, NorCal and Socal Ravens again got together in an event called the Southern California Royal Rumble. The rivalry between the two groups led to absolute gems such as this reply to a post after the event:
Listen to this fella… *RETRACTED*, I hate to break it to ya, but Nor. Cal. didn’t look as hot as you’re making it sound. I mean none of you are BAD players, but c’mon, The Watcher, CABLE, and Angelo were whippin you guys around like rag-dolls (as well as the rest of us of course). Fact is, Judging by what I saw, Nor. Cal. will be lucky to get in the top 5 AT ALL. I mean, Kannon is great, and Juju is good. Kobel ain’t bad, and you’re nothing to sneeze at, but c’mon. Donn eats guys like you for lunch, and Kurt slammed most of you without breakin’ a sweat. Besides, you’re run and hide tactic that you were so proud of did seem to backfire rather quickly, and though I did lose to you off and on, we all know I owned a better percent of my matches against Nor. Cal., than not.
Really, though, it WAS cool that you guys cruised down. I had really been concerned for So. Cal. representation, but now, I don’t think that there is much to worry about. MoC may not be an accurate title for the tournament, more likely it’ll be, ‘The Slaughterhouse.’
You can find the entire archived trash talking thread here. This leads us nicely into…
Master of California 2: The Calling
A year after the inaugural tournament, Master of California 2 arrived on August 24, 2002. Players assembled once more at Fresno State, eager to showcase their skills. The rules for this edition of the tournament were similar to the first, with some slight modifications:
Platform: Armored Core 2 Another Age
Double elimination, best of three tree structure
5 minute time limit per match
Enemy data HUD is banned
Retzki Armament Laboratory was banned as a map of choice
Like in MoC1, coin toss to determine the starting arena. The difference being only Ocean Base, Old Avalon Area, and Ancient City are the only choices for the first arena, where the loser of the coin toss gets to eliminate one of the three for the starting map.
The loser of a match gets to pick the next map.
A lottery system was in place to determine who fought who in the brackets, done at random.
An addition to this were what the organizers called Challenge Matches, where anyone could challenge any player to a duel, and if the other party accepted, the organizer would facilitate a match between the two on the day of the tournament, with no effect on their tournament placement. No doubt this was spurred on by the rivalry between players in the community, some of whom may have had a grudge to settle.
Oliver continued his winning streak, securing another first place victory, while Angelo and Joust claimed second and third place, respectively. From a personal account of Penguin Deus, he recalled that Angelo was concerned that The Watcher was playing subpar, and that the former was annoyed with Joust‘s gimmicks (a quad running the STEALTH backmounts with the S/NIGHT sniper and a blade) leading him to tell Joust straight to his face: “a lock wouldn’t make a difference”. And it didn’t, as the results showed.
The best part: a gang of Ravens on vacation from the east coast managed to record their participation in MoC2:
It’s as if you were there.
Some choice tournament vids of Joust playing in MoC2:
While not part of the Master of California series, this event took place on May 25, 2003, only a couple of months before MoC3 and was a litmus test of what was to come. This was the first tournament organized by the popular website Armored Core Online, and probably the first large-scale Armored Core 3 tournament in California, attracting over 20 participants.
The rules for this tournament were as follows:
Platform: Armored Core 3
Matches were best 3 out of 5
Players could only use one AC design throughout the tournament
A lottery system was in place to determine matchups
A separate after-party tournament allowed the use of OP-INTENSIFY/CROW designs
Once again, Oliver demonstrated his prowess, securing first place. The whole event was a prelude to the upcoming Master of California 3, generating excitement and anticipation.
The most striking fact was that he wasn’t even using a competitive design; he didn’t even have a left arm weapon on his winning AC, Genocide. His brother Alain also participated, but no records show how well he fared in this event. Second place went to Joust.
Master of California 3
Finally, we have a much more well-documented event. Master of California 3 continued the tradition of annual Armored Core tournaments. Taking place a month after ACO’s tournament, MoC3 took place on June 25, 2003 in the same building as the previous two MoCs.
The rules for this tournament mirrored those of Armored Core Online’s tournament:
Platform: Armored Core 3
OP-INTENSIFY, CROW stealth extensions, and the RF/220 rifle were banned
HUESO legs were soft-banned
The East Coast trio documented the event once more:
We are very fortunate to have found an extensive collection of the tournament footage as well. We’ve organized all of it right here:
Before we get to the results of this tournament, which was by far the biggest at more than 30 participants, we’d like you to watch the final match of the tournament. Can you guess who will win?
That’s right, it was the brothers, Oliver and Alain, again fighting for the top spot. To no one’s suprise (anymore), Oliver got the first place victory. 3rd place went to Kobel, the founder of Raven’s Haven. As a member of RNNC, he netted a win for the Northern California Ravens.
There are few surviving records of Master of California 4, but thankfully we have a firsthand account coming from its second place winner, Penguin Deus, from an interview in The Raven’s Voice podcast:
MoC4 brought over 40 participants, and while records of the event are scarce, Penguin Deus‘ interview outlines what you would expect. There were a few interesting moments during the tourney which we’ll leave for you to discover in the interview, particularly the Red Shirt Guy incident. As a bonus, you’ll hear stories from the California group in the same podcast. We urge you to give it a listen.
In a surprising twist, Oliver did not win the championship! His brother Alain won first place.
We’ve also organized available tournament footage here:
Next to nothing was archived about the last MoC tournament, but a few choice anecdotes from TMRaven and Penguin Deus can give some insights on who won and what they used:
TMRaven: achilles won moc5 wtih 89e/fa frame using 81G/Golem as guns
TMRaven: rebelsoul took 2nd in moc5 using an lf71 ob quad using rs/gl, and GLL (Backmounts)
Penguin Deus (on the top 4 rankings): Achilles 1, Rebelsoulpk 2, Reuben 3, Booyaka 4
Beyond that, we’re spent on any MoC5 information.
And so we reach the end of Master of California’s known history. As we look to complete our coverage on Armored Core’s past, we will be exploring the AC scene in the Philippines through the tale of our very own Raven Republic.
Stay tuned for the next chapter in the saga of competitive mech combat!
Welcome back to our series tracking down Armored Core’s rich PVP history. This time we advance a few years forward from our last entry, to the dawn of the 3rd gen era.
Throughout Armored Core history, there is one event that stands out as a landmark moment—the first official international duel between Japanese and Korean players. Armored Core 3: Raven’s Arena, a special program held on December 14, 2002, brought together formidable teams from both countries. What ensued was a clash of skill, camaraderie, and a touch of miscommunication.
The following is a summarized account of the events by Right/Light and Raptor, both from the Japanese team. We do not know the selection process for the pilots, but it’s safe to say that they were selected for their skills as Ravens.
As the Japanese team embarked on their journey from Japan to Seoul on December 13, anticipation ran high. Consisting of four skilled players—Light/Right, Raptor, Atlas, and the legendary Imori—accompanied by representatives from Famitsu gaming magazine and FromSoftware (including Armored Core series producer Kenichiro Tsukuda), the Japanese contingent was ready to make their mark. A fascinating tidbit emerged during their journey: when asked about the development team for Armored Core, Mr. Tsukuda revealed that over 50 people were involved, highlighting the scale and dedication behind the game.
Upon arrival in Seoul, the Japanese team settled into the luxurious Ritz-Carlton hotel, their home base for the upcoming battle. They wasted no time in acquainting themselves with the Korean AC teams, engaging in casual matches at local PlayStation 2 rental places. It became clear to Mr. Right that the Korean players possessed remarkable skill with blading, even capable of giving top Japanese players a run for their money. But what truly surprised the Japanese team was the Korean players’ ability to converse fluently in Japanese—an unexpected display of linguistic prowess.
The teams went back home to rest up for the night.
The following day, as the tournament approached, an unexpected problem arose. It was discovered that the standard mode of play in South Korea was Normal mode, while the Japanese players preferred the more challenging Hard mode. To the uninitiated, Hard mode gives a smaller lock box for players, with the Japanese rationale being that the lockbox in Normal mode was too big for competitive play. The organizers failed to inform the Korean team of this and a brief back-and-forth ensued until Mr. Tsukuda himself intervened, ultimately settling on Hard mode as the choice for the matches. This decision put the Korean team at a disadvantage as many of their players had never experienced Hard mode gameplay before. It was an unfortunate case of miscommunication that resulted in a handicap for the Korean players.
Both Right and Raptor acknowledged the event’s lack of fairness. Nonetheless, the die was cast, and the tournament had to proceed. Due to time constraints, there was a forced last-minute change to a team battle format between the Japanese and Korean Ravens.
The Raven’s Arena tournament had specific rules and parameters. The Korean version of Armored Core 3 was employed. Each battle had a time limit of five minutes, with opponents vying for points in a best-of-five format. Certain parts were banned, including (naturally) the OP-INTENSIFY and CROW extensions. Each player was allowed three AC designs they can swap out at any time. Design details of opponents’ ACs were concealed, and changing parts during the tournament was strictly prohibited. To level the playing field, enemy data on the HUD was banned, ensuring players had to rely solely on their skills and awareness. Wearing headphones while playing was a mandatory requirement. Furthermore, specific maps like Jungle, Blast Furnace, and Parking Lot were deemed off-limits.
The significance of the event was further highlighted by the presence of professional commentators, including JIN, the founder of Korea’s largest Armored Core fansite, “Armored Korea”. Drawing inspiration from the e-sports scene and the prevalence of Starcraft tournaments in South Korea, the organizers sought to replicate that success with Armored Core.
Prior to the main event, participants meticulously crafted their machines in the garage. Although the rules strictly forbade players from viewing their opponents’ designs, the assembly screen was displayed on a giant projector in the background of the stage. With a keen eye, Raptor managed to catch a glimpse of some design elements of their enemies. It’s worth noting that due to the sheer size of the screen, the Korean players likely saw what the Japanese players were creating as well.
With their preparations complete, the teams engaged in a few practice matches. The atmosphere grew tense, and the anticipation among the players reached its zenith.
*Author’s notes: I provided part information where I could. Also, I prolly/really butchered the players’ names on both teams*
And so the battles began. Note that these videos are basically short highlight reels; not all matches were broadcast nor recorded. But it is the most amount of video we have available from the event at this time (and believe me, we looked!):
With Japanese commentary:
With Korean commentary:
As the dust settled, the Japanese team emerged victorious with a clean sweep. However, the Japanese players were quick to emphasize that this outcome should not be seen as a definitive judgment of the skill gap between Korea and Japan. The discrepancy in game modes—Korean players accustomed to Normal mode and Japanese players competing on Hard mode due to the organizer’s oversight—created an unbalanced situation. The Japanese participants commended the Korean team for their willingness to adapt and compete on Hard mode at a moment’s notice. They acknowledged the difficulty of transitioning abruptly from Normal to Hard mode and urged others not to read too much into the results of this particular match.
In the aftermath of the intense battles, both teams put aside their competitive spirits and shared a heartwarming dinner, savoring delicious Korean cuisine. A memorable moment unfolded when Raptor and his opponent Eakalian bonded over a serving of bibimbap.
Raptor: Was it good to mix kimchi in the bibimpap?
Eakalian: You can mix the kimchi and gochujang, but I won’t mix it.
Raptor: You don’t usually mix them?
Eakalian: I’m not good with spicy food *bitter smile*
The remainder of the evening was spent in friendly conversation and bonding, with the Japanese team learning a few Korean words. Interestingly, the teams decided to play Armored Core once again, but this time in Normal mode. The Korean players showcased their creativity by bringing forth a wider array of AC designs, demonstrating their true potential.
Armored Core’s first official international duel between Japan and Korea may have had its fair share of obstacles and unexpected turns, but it was an event that showcased the passion and dedication of the players. It fostered a sense of unity and respect among two large Armored Core communities. As the Raven’s Arena echoed with the sounds of clashing mechs, a new chapter in the history of Armored Core began—a chapter that would forever be remembered as a testament to the enduring spirit of competitive gaming.
In the next article, we dive deep into one of the most storied grassroots tournament series the game has ever had: Master of California. Stay tuned!
FaZe Jarvis: Banned from Fortnite because I literally hacked and filmed it for millions to see
YOU: IDK I’m just too good
Have you seen this AC? If you’ve played the Ex Arena in Armored Core: Master of Arena’s 2nd disc, under the “Champion” category, you probably have.
It turns out, there’s a man and a story behind this AC—a glimpse into the earliest days of Armored Core tournaments and the people around it.
Who is this person with the callsign “YOU”? A man who was so good at Gen1 Armored Core that he was banned from participating in Armored Core tournaments for winning consistently. He was so good that he was bestowed the title of “Irregular” by his peers, and as you saw, cemented his legacy by earning a spot in AC:MoA’s Ex Arena.
Denfaminico Gamer was able to track YOU down for an extensive interview about his life as a Raven. The following is a summary of that interview.
A Head Start
YOU’s extraordinary journey began in the early days of Armored Core, where he swiftly made a name for himself. In total, he won a staggering nine official tournaments across the first and second generation Armored Core games and was a force to be reckoned with. However, it was his participation during the lifecycle of Armored Core: Project Phantasma that solidified his legendary status.
When asked about his ban from Armored Core tournaments in the PSX era, YOU confirmed the rumors, explaining that he was asked to step aside after his fourth tournament. FromSoftware sought a fresh champion, and deemed his unparalleled success as a hindrance to the tournament’s diversity and excitement. Eventually he was able to rejoin the tournaments, winning again when Armored Core 2 and Armored Core 2: Another Age were released.
Unconventional Tactics and Unforgettable Moments
Throughout his career, YOU developed a reputation for employing unorthodox strategies and mind games to gain an edge over his opponents. His mastery of the game’s meta allowed him to remain on top. He intentionally chewed gum during matches to distract his adversaries. He was also known for surprising his competitors by announcing one AC design before a tournament, only to arrive with a completely different one on the day itself—an unpredictable tactic that often caught his opponents off guard.
YOU also shed light on the inner workings of Armored Core tournaments during his prime. FromSoftware would send letters to participants, and a lottery system determined who would compete. A minimum of 16 players were required for a tournament to commence. In recounting these events, he revealed that the first-ever tournament was sponsored and organized by the renowned Yodobashi Camera Corporation. This first tournament, which happened to coincide with his birthday, saw him triumphantly declaring victory as his greatest gift to himself.
The Path to Greatness
During the interview, YOU delved into his origins as an Armored Core enthusiast. Initially introduced to the world of mecha combat through the PSX title Vehicle Cavalier, he quickly became captivated by Armored Core’s limitless possibilities. A desire to create effective PVP designs and tactics fueled his passion, pushing him to invest countless hours into honing his skills. With modesty, YOU attributed his success not to innate talent but to unwavering dedication and practice, often logging five to eight hours of gameplay per day, with the interviewer commenting it is not unlike how an athlete trains for a sporting event.
The Unbreakable Friendships
While the competitive scene could be cutthroat, YOU acknowledged the friendships he formed during his Armored Core journey. These bonds, often forged through battles and shared experiences, provided him with a lifeline when the pressures of constant victory threatened to consume him. He emphasized the significance of these relationships, recounting heartwarming anecdotes of sharing post-competition ramen sessions with fellow Ravens. These communal moments, where individuals from different backgrounds gathered to bond over their shared love for Armored Core and local cuisines served as a powerful motivator for him to continually push the boundaries of his abilities.
Reflections on Triumph and Humanity
As the interview drew to a close, YOU reflected on the mental toll his pursuit of victory had exacted on him. The weight of his “Irregular” title became suffocating, causing him to hyperventilate under the immense pressure to always emerge victorious. However, it was the intervention of a concerned teammate that led him to question the true value of relentless triumph. It was through this introspection that he finally discovered the joy of Armored Core beyond the competitive realm—a joy found in simply playing for the love of the game.
The Legacy of a Legend
Immortalized in Armored Core: Master of Arena, YOU managed to leave a permanent legacy in the history of Armored Core. From his meteoric rise, to his ban from official tournaments, and finally, to the profound friendships he fostered along the way, his journey is a testament to the lasting impact of shared experiences and the power of camaraderie forged by competition. While Armored Core may have catapulted him into the annals of gaming history, it is the connections he made that he cherishes above all else. Truly, Armored Core proved to be the conduit that linked him to lifelong friends, forever enriching his life.
Today, YOU is just coasting through life, surrounded by family and friends. He’s jumped into figure modelling and is a fan of Girls und Panzer. He looks back at his glory days and wonders if his story might be unearthed by his children one day.
And yes, he still possesses the skills of an Irregular:
The last word of the interview may be the finest (machine translated):
My life changed when I met “Armored Core”, and I am grateful to Mr. From and the Ravens who played against me. I never thought I’d be interviewed after 20 years, but I’m happy to have this opportunity and it was fun.
Thank you very much today!
Thank you, YOU for being a legend. His experiences resonate to many of us who have met in real life because of Armored Core. And so to that end, thank you too, FromSoftware, for creating the game that brought us all here together.
For those who are curious, his old Armored Core website is archived in the links section below.
Thus concludes the first part of our series covering various Armored Core PVP moments in history. Stay tuned for part 2!
Armored Core veterans LCC and TMRaven recently hosted a fantasy tournament for Armored Core: Last Raven over at the Armored Core Discord server.
A fantasy tournament is where a couple of hosts play with submitted AC designs and pit them against each other in a tournament setting. This largely bypasses the geographical restrictions of playing against each other and equalizes the skill factor in piloting ACs, since they use the same pilots throughout the entire fantasy tournament.
Congratulations to Crimson Fury with his AC Libra for winning the tournament! Thank you as well to LCC and TMRaven for hosting. It’s not an easy feat organizing and playing a fantasy tournament, and we really appreciate your efforts for the community. May your cores continue to be armored.
The banned parts list for this tournament is particularly interesting.
Cores: CR-C83UA – REGULATION RULE: This core is only banned if hangers parts are to be utilized.
Arms: A09-LEMUR2, YA10-LORIS
Insides: All ECM makers
Extensions: All Energy Mags
Back Weapon: WB31B-PEGASUS 、WB27O-HARPY2
Right Arm Weapon: CR-WH79H3
Left Arm Weapon: CR-WH79H3
Hangars: CR-WH01HP, YWH14PU-ROC4, WR12PU-ROC2
REGULATION: Hover legs are exempt from the Frame-Part ban rule
REGULATION: Tank Legs are exempt from Frame-Part Ban rules with exception to the Regulation addendum regarding CR-C83UA hangers.
Information and HUD
[ Enemy Data OFF ]
The tournament is open to those who are relatively new to competitive Last Raven.
For more information on the rules and how to register, check the full post on our forums.